Parents' Guide to

Cassandra's Dream

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Woody Allen scores with suspenseful adult drama.

Movie PG-13 2008 105 minutes
Cassandra's Dream Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 1 parent review

age 13+

Simply Brilliant...

** Comments indirectly reveal overall outcome of film ** I always think of Allen as an intimate Kubrick. Everyone is so quick to judge both filmmakers, and critics are often divided evenly on their films. I am always astonished at the amount of anger surrounding Woody Allen's work, like everyone is wanting his films to be a certain way; to deliver a certain 'thing' they are not getting like they used to. Granted, with someone as prolific as Mr. Allen, not all films can be masterpieces. Hitchcock certainly only made a small handful of 'perfect' films. I go so far as to say that "Psycho" is deeply flawed, yet endlessly hailed as a classic because of it's astonishing parts. Then "Frenzy" comes along which is dark, psychological, disturbing, and a complete departure for the director and it is rejected by the community of critics as a 'lessor' or 'minor' work, only to re-emerge years later redefined as a underrated classic. Would people say of Hitchcock, "Gee. He keeps retreading the same theme of murder in all of his films?" Kubrick's "2001," my personal favorite, was slammed by many critics in its time. In fact, throughout his career, Kubrick was endlessly accused of recycling his themes in every picture. Let's not forget "Citzen Kane" and the career of Orson Welles so brutalized in it's time, only to now reveal its genius. In the end, I think everyone's got it wrong with "Cassandra's Dream." Allen's films are ultimately, like Shakespeare, somewhat philosophical and are 'about' murder, morality, fear, and the human predicament, and self- consciously display the classic elements of tragedy. They are not mere entertainment. Why does no one mention the brilliance and sad lyricism of just the opening shot alone? Two innocent boys running side by side, naturalistic-ally framed within a dark, gloomy universe.. I felt the Philip Glass score was perfect for the film in establishing a classic tragic tone to cast the boys into.. It's composed just right for a Woody Allen film, despite what critics have said. The first dialogue reveals that the boys cannot afford their boat and plan to name it after a winning dog at the racetrack.. My, how we all hope for the winning hand to make us more than we are.. Yes, why can't we be happy with what we have? Notice the composition of each shot.. The colors... The chaos in the backgrounds. The faces of fear in the blue light when hiding behind the doorway... The loss of humanity in Ian.. The gaining of it in the sweet face of Terry... Ahh, the empty material dreams of us all... Yes, Woody Allen has done a murder story before, but he certainly has not told this one. It was very unique and true to these darker times. There are so many murders in the real world every day and so many seen in the movies... Here, we are taken through the depths of only ONE... One only witnessed in our minds eye and felt in our emotions. Much to reflect upon when the closing credits roll: All we are, all we are raised to be, all we hope to gain, what we will do to survive, all we may lose, all we learn... Fate... Chance... A mighty king comes with a wicked deed... Innocence lost... Brotherly love torn apart...Wisdom at great cost. I say, it was great. Carry on, Mr. Allen, with all due respect....

This title has:

Too much violence
Too much sex

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (2):

Director Woody Allen has finally found his groove again. In Cassandra's Dream, Allen -- who lost his way in recent years with duds like Scoop and Melinda and Melinda -- makes a successful return to subjects that have repeatedly fascinated him: crime and punishment. He headed in that direction with Match Point, which itself was a retread of Crimes and Misdemeanors (arguably one of Allen's masterpieces). But while Match Point strained to be sophisticated and analytical, Cassandra's Dream is a lean, mean, taut machine.

Which isn't to say that the movie doesn't have flaws. For starters, characters often explain rather than banter. (Where, oh where, has Allen's complete ease with dialogue gone?) They're also drawn so much to type that it's comic -- in the beginning, Angela is such a man eater that she might as well have been feasting on human flesh. But there's no doubt that Allen teases out wonderfully layered performances from his actors, specifically Farrell (painfully tragic) and Wilkinson (icy and manipulative). And the movie doesn't suffer from dull spots -- suspenseful moments are played for maximum tension, while uncomfortable ones enhance the drama.

Movie Details

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